This month we invited Ital Logistics, a strong player in the Iberian market, to give their thoughts on Spain. We asked what pros and cons they encounter when dealing with a market whose finances, like many other EU countries to where they operate, have been through the mill in recent years.
There is no such thing as a problem” says Managing Director, Phil Denton, “we either treat difficulties as challenges to overcome, or we simply have facts. With a mind-set intent to overcome such challenges, we lend ourselves to opportunities by finding solutions. The alternative is to bury our heads in the sand, continue to bemoan what is wrong, and as a result miss those golden opportunities to excel.
Writing this article the weekend after the results of the EU referendum, whilst it is a fact that we will now have new challenges to overcome, let’s face it, nobody knows what these challenges will be until we understand the forthcoming divorce settlement. We simply have to watch, listen and respond.
Getting back to the initial topic, Spain provides 25% of Ital Logistics’ turnover, whilst contributing 30% of the gross profit. This 25% of turnover has a rate of return of 22% being higher than some of our other core markets such as Italy and Greece. Why?
Well we can all do a groupage service to and from Barcelona, or to Madrid. But if you go farther afield and introduce the peripheries of the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Gibraltar and Andorra (yes yes, I know they aren’t Spanish!), and Southern Spanish outposts like Ceuta and Melilla, plus throw in some dangerous goods for the hell of it, overcome the complexities associated with such areas, and you create opportunities to explore and conquer.
From our perspective, there has been a definite lack of desire to invest by Spanish companies, understandable given the recent years following the disruption from 2008. It seems, at least in some cases, that there is too much of the ‘fact’ and not enough of the ‘solution’.
On many visits to Spain in recent years, all we repeatedly seemed to hear was ’the crisis, the crisis’ with a distinct lack of positivity. A half empty glass as opposed to a half full one risks becoming the norm and all it can do is harbour negativity and quell enthusiasm. Having said that, if you are watching the pennies, it is perhaps against the grain to go out and spend more. Most of us do it to some extent.
So what have we done about it? Well we haven’t buried our heads in the sand that’s for sure. Despite many Spanish forwarding companies hardly wanting to know us some eight or nine years ago when we went in quest of commercial partners, through taking matters into our own hands we have year on year increased our business and expanded our Spanish presence. From £250,000 turnover in 2006 to over £2,500,000 last year, it is evidence that by treating problems as challenges to overcome, there is a far better chance to prosper. Just don’t sit back, call it a fact, and give in.
The new industry challenges upon us following the EU referendum result needn’t be arduous. Does it matter if we have to fill in a few more documents? No. We did in before, and we can do it again. One could consider it as a new opportunity to regain the specialisation that was needed before ‘any man and his dog’ could send goods to and from the EU. It’s a chance to re-create additional income from specialisation. We are all in the same boat, so for once, it’s a level playing field.
At least that’s how we see it.